Architecting your Network for Azure

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By David McKenney, Director,  Product Management

Microsoft Azure is one of the cloud platforms we work with most frequently. It is reliable, fast, and has some of the best security features in the industry. There’s a reason Azure is a multi-billion-dollar business for Microsoft. We trust it. So do millions of other businesses.

But, as with any cloud deployment, a little preplanning can result in a smoother transition. If you’ve not been part of a team responsible for moving applications and data to the cloud before, one of the best ways to gain knowledge quickly is to learn from others. If there is any organization that can push Azure to its limits, it would be Microsoft itself.

When Microsoft IT moved its application platform to an Azure cloud, they needed to:

  • Support more than 200,000 workers in more than 880 locations
  • Support more than 2100 line-of-business (LOB) applications running on more than 40,000 servers
  • Work with individual business units to develop road maps for moving applications out of the Microsoft data centers and into the Microsoft Azure public cloud

Note: Microsoft Azure is a separate business unit from Microsoft IT. Although both are Microsoft entities, all operations are separate, and Microsoft IT is functionally the same as any other Microsoft Azure enterprise customer.

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NEIBP Working Toward a Turnkey DR System

By Brian Schwartz, TierPoint Content Team

Introduction
Ron Tedesco has served the National Elevator Industry Benefit Plans (NEIBP) for more than two decades. The organization, which administers collectively-bargained benefits for the International Union of Elevator Constructors, serves approximately 100,000 members and their families. Tedesco, who runs the IT department, concentrates a significant portion of his time on protecting member data because he knows that any data loss could make it more difficult for them to receive medical and retirement benefits.

In early 2015, Tedesco set out to modernize the NEIBP’s approach to backup and disaster recovery. At the time, his team was not satisfied with their cloud solution because data could not be easily recovered. Their goal was to implement a turnkey disaster recovery (DR) solution that would be simple to manage across multiple locations.

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Ron Tedesco, Director of IT, National Elevator Industry Benefit Plans, is leading a creative effort to design and implement a DR solution for data and telecommunications.  

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Firing Up Innovation With IT Managed Services

prisma_image_innovation_tierpointBy Bob Hicks, Senior Vice President — Operations

As an information technology executive you face a constant dilemma. While innovation is a competitive necessity in today’s world of digital disruption, you lack bandwidth because day-to-day operational demands monopolize your time. No doubt, this is why chief information officers rank innovation as one of their top five concerns for 2016 in the Society for Information Management’s (SIM’s) latest survey.

Fortunately, cloud technology and IT managed services have matured to the point that CIOs now have a viable solution for making time for innovation. Increasingly, forward-looking companies are selectively outsourcing functions to experienced partners who specialize in making sure your technology consistently works when and how it needs to. By getting out from under the daily struggle to keep routine but critical IT functions running smoothly, you can focus your resources on maximizing business value.

Transforming IT from a cost center to a business differentiator is achievable through strategic innovation.  Maintaining or reducing operational IT costs while increasing business process efficiencies and enhancing your company’s go to market approach, whether directly or supportively, brings the business value maximization goal to a reality. Continue reading

Hybrid IT: It’s About More than Infrastructure

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By Craig Hurley, Vice President, Hybrid Cloud & DRaaS 

In our last post, The Biggest IT Trend No One’s Paying Attention To, we defined Hybrid IT as an any-of-the-above approach to IT infrastructure that looks at each business’ computing scenario and applications to determine the best deployment methodology for their situation. Those methods could include any combination of private, multi-tenant, colocation, public (e.g. Azure, AWS) or on-premise.

But, Hybrid IT is about more than just who owns and manages the infrastructure. A true Hybrid IT environment also gives you the flexibility to consider the best way to manage other key infrastructure elements such as databases, operating systems, security, etc.  Continue reading

Video: TierPoint and Zerto Discuss Software-Defined DRaaS and Hybrid IT

By Shea Long, TierPoint SVP, Products

Congrats to Zerto for pulling off a great inaugural user conference.  TierPoint was proud to participate as a Gold-level sponsor.  Having the opportunity to speak with Zerto’s senior management team about our shared mission was a key highlight for me, as was interacting with customers and partners throughout the conference.

Both Zerto and TierPoint focus on helping customers increase simplicity in their computing environment(s).  The cloud, after all, is supposed to provide more simplicity, right?  Simple, however, converts quickly to complex when you start deploying multiple clouds, both public and private. Helping clients simplify data management and protection is really at the foundation of TierPoint’s hybrid IT strategy. Our goal is to provide clients with the flexibility to choose their own mix of services.  This may include a public cloud option like Azure, an on-premise solution and/or a fully-managed infrastructure solution from a provider like TierPoint — all integrating smoothly in a seamless, efficient way.

This approach elevates DRaaS into a core cloud application and major building block of a managed resilience solution — something clients tell us more and more that they want.

At the conference, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to sit down with Rob Strechay, VP of product at Zerto.  We talked about what DRaaS is today and where it is headed in the future.  We also explored what TierPoint calls software-defined DRaaS.  TierPoint’s vision for DRaaS includes taking the benefits often associated with software defined networking and applying them to DRaaS, creating more simplicity, agility and resilience for our clients and ultimately our clients’ clients.

We invite you to watch our short video on this topic and be sure to let us know what you think.

 

Executive Sponsorship: Don’t Migrate to the Cloud Without It

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By Octavio Morales, Senior Vice President — Operations

It doesn’t matter what business you’re in or what type of project you’re managing. Change is hard. The bigger the change, the more you need senior leadership to help pave the way. Migrating to the cloud can fall into this category. And, while you might have a C-level executive such as a CIO or CTO driving the project, here are a handful of reasons why it can be a good idea to enlist executive sponsorship from outside the IT realm as well:

Alignment to business goals. In the Society for Information Management’s latest survey of Chief Information Officers, alignment to IT was the number one issue for CIOs in 2016. Having an executive sponsor from the business side of the organization can help you understand how your cloud migration strategy needs to support the business and articulate the business benefits of your strategy to others.

Cost/benefit analysis. When you migrate to the cloud, decisions will need to be made that require a thorough understanding of the cost/benefits analysis. For example, which cloud model suits your organization best: public? private? hosted private? colocation? hybrid? The most effective solution may not always look the least expensive on paper. An executive who can articulate the business reasons for choosing one over the other to the rest of the C-Suite can be an invaluable ally. Continue reading

Five Ways to Make IT More Strategic

By Chris Scaglione, VP & General Manager, TierPoint

If you’ve been reading anything about IT leadership in the last year, you’re familiar with the drum beat of advice to “be more strategic.”  But that’s easier said than done.  Many c-suite executives still view IT as a service provider, not a strategic partner.  How do you persuade your peers, your CEO and even your Board to embrace IT’s strategic role?

To get traction for transforming your role, begin by laying the groundwork with these ideas, which CIOs nationwide identified as some of their highest priorities at the WSJ CIO Network earlier this year.

1. Begin with operational excellence.

If you are engaged in a traditional organization that values IT (primarily) for operational excellence, your performance against those expectations must be consistently of the highest quality to play at a higher level.  Simply put, operational excellence equals credibility.

If your service reputation is poor or middling, your journey towards playing a more strategic role starts by focusing on achieving operational excellence first. Continue reading